Excerp from 'O Jerusalem Jerusalem!' by Dave Hunt
How things can change so rapidly. My wife and I were in Jerusalem earlier this year, during their spring, on a study tour with Arnold Fruchtenbaum [Ariel Ministeries] (and what a wonderful study tour it was), and found Jerusalem at peace and safe to walk around day and night. Indeed people keep asking, did I feel safe in Israel, and yes we did feel safe. The most dangerous part was probably driving on the roads – there is a lot of traffic for such a small country! Yet this week we read reports of violence in the very streets we wandered in May and June. This reminded me of the prophecy of Zechariah 12:1-4, and I found the following article by the late Dave Hunt reminding us why Jerusalem is not at peace. I have cut some of the recent history Dave Hunt included, as it was written in 2000 and a lot has happened since.
From Dave Hunt who is the author of A Cup of Trembling: Jerusalem and Bible Prophecy July, 1995
"Jerusalem is indisputably, year after year, the top news story in the world. That fact reflects the fulfilment of multiple prophecies concerning this remarkable city and its unique place in Gods will. The ongoing actualization of these prophecies in our day is absolute proof that God exists, that the Bible is His Word and that the Jews are His chosen people.
The very fact that Jerusalem is mentioned more than 800 times in the Bible makes it worthy of special attention. This unique city is the only one upon which God has bestowed His distinctive blessing and protection (Ps 132:13-14), and the only city for whose peace we are commanded to pray (Ps 122:6). God says He has chosen Jerusalem as the place where He has put His name forever (2 Chr 6:6; 33:7; Ps 46:4; 48:1-8; 87:3). The new heavens and new earth will contain "the city of my God...new Jerusalem" (Rv 3:12; 21:2). That there will be a "heavenly Jerusalem" (Heb 12:22) but no "heavenly" New York, Paris, London, Damascus, Cairo, etc. speaks volumes.
After decades of pleading with Israel to repent of its idolatrous rebellion, God pronounced through Jeremiah His reluctant judgment upon His city and upon His land (Lv 25:23). Daniel referred to "the word of the Lord...to Jeremiah the prophet" (Jer 25:3-11), that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem" (Daniel 9:2).
Two views (the second is correct) define the prophesied 70 years of desolations:
1) that it began with the first taking of captives to Babylon about 605 B.C. (2 Chr 36:6-7) and ended with the Edict of Cyrus around 536 B.C.. (Ezr 1:1-4, etc.), allowing Jews to return to Jerusalem; or
2) that it began with the destruction of the temple and the city in 586 B.C.. (Jer 52:7-14) and ended with the temples completion about 516 B.C..
That the temple was restored and sacrifices resumed at the end of 70 years is established history. The angel Gabriel told Daniel that after the Messiah had come and been "cut off" (i.e., killed, "but not for himself") the temple and Jerusalem would be destroyed again (Dn 9:25-26). This post-Messiah destruction would leave the Jews for "many days without a king...and without a sacrifice..." (Hos 3:4). Obviously, something would prevent the temple from being rebuilt! As quoted above, Jesus explained that the Gentiles would control Jerusalem.
That Jerusalem would be "trodden down of the Gentiles" has been a fact of history, exactly as Christ foretold. The Babylonians held Jerusalem, then the Medes and Persians. Alexander the Great took it for the Greeks in 333 B.C.. Later the Egyptians and Syrians alternately had it until the Romans under Pompey captured Israel in 64 B.C.. and held it into the fourth century AD. In the seventh century Islamic invaders took control, to be replaced near the end of the eleventh century by the Crusaders. They held Jerusalem until Saladin (Sultan of Egypt and great Muslim warrior) retook the city in 1187. Later the Islamic Mamelukes of Egypt possessed Jerusalem. Then the Ottoman-Turkish Empire ruled for about 400 years. The Turks sided with Germany in World War I, so the Allied victors gave Britain a mandate in 1917 to administer the region.
Today we see the continuing fulfilment of Christ's remarkable prophecy that Jerusalem would be "trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled" (Lk 21:24). UN Resolution 181 in 1947, supported by the Vatican, declared that Jerusalem must remain an international city. Israel's Knesset is there. But nations locate their embassies elsewhere in Israel. No other country is forbidden to decide its own capital! The European Union repeatedly says it "does not recognize Israel's sovereignty" over Jerusalem. By what right do Gentile nations claim Jerusalem as their international city?
When will "the times of the Gentiles" end? Clearly, not until the Gentile nations are defeated at Armageddon. Just ahead lies "the time of Jacob's trouble" (Jer 30:7). The armies of the world, led by Antichrist, will be brought to Armageddon by Yahweh to punish them for mistreatment of His people Israel (Ezk 38:16-18)--and to discipline Israel for her unbelief.
No wonder Christ wept over Jerusalem! For 1,900 years, as Hosea foretold, Jews have had no sacrifices for sin. We are driven to one of two conclusions: either God has abandoned them--or the Messiahs once-for-all death for sin has fulfilled and replaced animal sacrifices. Let us pray that Israel will awaken to the truth."
For the full article see < https://www.thebereancall.org/content/o-jerusalem-jerusalem > (accessed 18 October 2015)